A fully able-bodied woman wants to live as a disabled person, and is even prepared to pay a doctor to help her fulfil her wish.
58-year-old Cambridge University educated research scientist Chloe Jennings-White, from Salt Lake City, Utah, suffers from a rare condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID).
Chloe, like others with the disorder, finds it hard to accept one or more of their body parts often wishing to have them amputated or become paraplegic.
Believing both of her legs do not belong to her, Chloe dreams of being paralysed from the waist down.
She first realised she was different at the age of four when she saw her Aunt Olive using leg braces.
In an interview with Barcroft TV, Chloe explained:
I wanted them too. I wondered why I wasn’t born needing them and felt something was wrong with me because I didn’t have them.
Something in my brain tells me my legs are not supposed to work. Having any sensation in them just feels wrong.
Bandaging herself secretly for years, Chloe is now open about her condition despite receiving insults and sometimes threats.
You can watch an interview with Chloe here:
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Since childhood Chloe has attempted to injure herself numerous times so she would have to use a wheelchair.
At nine years old, she rode her bike off a four-foot high acting stage landing on her neck.
From then on Chloe decided to climb trees or take part in risky sports such as downhill skiing in the hope she injures her legs as she explains:
I ski extremely fast, and aim for the most dangerous runs.
Doing any activity that brings a chance of me becoming paraplegic gives me a sense of relief from the anxiety caused by the BIID.
My friends and family can get a little worried about me skiing, as they know I ski very aggressively and they know that in the back of my mind I actually want to get paralysed.
Having a real skiing accident a few years ago, Chloe was left with a reason to get leg braces and a minor back injury.
She still thinks about further damaging her legs, though, fantasising about having a car crash where no one is injured but her.
Coming across BIID online, realising she wasn’t alone was of huge importance to Chloe.
It was a huge relief. I wasn’t a freak – there were hundreds of others like me.
Taking part in a BIID research study in 2008, Chloe was diagnosed with the condition with psychiatrist Michael First recommending she use a wheelchair.
Spending the majority of time in the chair, Chloe believes it does help her:
The chair gives me psychological relief, instead of physical. I know it can be difficult for people without BIID to understand, but it’s what we feel.
I can’t afford to convert my home for disabled access so I just use the chair as much as I can.
Chloe still dreams about becoming disabled even finding a doctor abroad in 2010 who was willing to cut her sciatic and femoral nerves.
However, unable to afford the £16,000 costs, Chloe was unable to go through with the procedure.
Psychiatrist Dr Mark Malan, who treats Chloe, believes giving people with BIID wheelchairs is a good form of treatment but added more research needs to be done.
The question I often ask is, is it better to have somebody pretending to use a wheelchair, or to commit suicide?
One possibility could be to do some sort of nerve blocking so that that limb could not actually be used for a period of time, to let the patient test the reality of being physically disabled temporarily.
It would give BIID sufferers a chance to change their minds if they wanted to.
Wanting to raise awareness about the condition, Chloe wrote for the BIID support group Transabled.
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